For some people, hormonal acne can be more than just an annoyance—it can be downright painful and embarrassing.
While there are multiple types of acne medication, the most effective treatment option is hormonal therapy for acne, which utilizes the body’s natural hormones to control and reduce breakouts on your face and body.
Hormonal therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat acne, but this treatment doesn’t come without its cons.
In order to get the most out of your hormonal therapy, it’s important to understand how it works, how long it can take to give results, and what some of the potential side effects might be in order to decide if it’s right for you.
This article will look at all these issues in detail and more so that you can make an informed decision about whether hormonal therapy might be right for you.
Let’s get started!
At First, What is Hormonal Acne?
Hormonal acne is caused by an imbalance of androgen hormones in the body. Androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands, which produce oil.
This excess oil can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. The more these glands are stimulated, the more they produce. As a result, inflammation occurs which leads to redness and pimples.
Acne formation affects almost 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30. In some people even after 30 years of age acne can affect them.
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Factors that Contribute to Acne
A large number of factors contribute to acne. Hormones can be a major factor, which may be why acne is often referred to as hormonal acne.
Puberty causes a rise in androgens production. In turn, this increases the production of sebum, an oily substance secreted at the base of hairs to protect and lubricate the skin.
A blockage of the hair follicles results in comedo or “clogged pores”, as well as the overproduction of skin cells that would normally be pushed up and shed from the surface.
The comedo can become infected by bacteria. The immune system responds to the bacteria, causing inflammation which ultimately leads to acne formation.
When Should Acne Be Suspected to Be Hormonal?
An acne outbreak can be devastating, especially when you can’t pinpoint what’s causing it and don’t know how to get rid of it quickly.
There are a few key times when acne may be hormonal in nature:
First, if you notice that your breakouts tend to be cyclical, appearing every month or so around the time of your period, this could be a sign that hormones are to blame.
Second, post-adolescent acne is often hormonal in nature. If you’re in your 20s or 30s and still struggling with regular breakouts, it’s worth considering hormone therapy as a potential solution.
Finally, if you find that other acne treatments (topical creams, oral antibiotics) aren’t working as well as you’d like, hormonal therapy may be worth exploring.
Hormonal Therapy: What Exactly It Is?
Hormonal therapy for acne works by helping to regulate the hormones that are responsible for causing acne breakouts. This can help to clear up the skin and prevent future breakouts from occurring.
There are a few different kinds of hormonal therapy, including oral contraceptives (birth control pill) and anti-androgens (Spironolactone, Cyproterone Acetate, Flutamide). Each type of hormonal therapy has its own set of pros and cons.
1. Oral Contraceptives
Oral contraceptives are often used as part of hormonal therapy for acne, as they can help to regulate hormone levels.
They decrease the production of sebum by the oil glands on the skin by reducing the activity of the sebaceous gland.
This medication has shown promising results in reducing acne breakouts during a person’s period (a time when breakouts tend to be worse).
Despite these benefits, there are a few side effects associated with it:
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Breast tenderness
- Fluid retention
Spironolactone is a medication that is often prescribed for hormonal acne. It inhibits the production of androgens, the hormones that can cause acne.
As a result, it blocks the effects of testosterone, which can help to reduce the production of sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores and lead to breakouts.
So by taking spironolactone, you can decrease the amount of acne-causing hormones in your body and hopefully see a reduction in breakouts.
While hormonal therapy can be effective, it is not without its drawbacks. Side effects of spironolactone can include:
- Tenderness of the breast
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Low libido (Low sexual drive or desire)
- Hyperkalemia (Higher potassium level)
3. Cyproterone Acetate
Cyproterone acetate is an anti-androgen that is used to treat acne in women. It works by reducing the amount of sebum production. It also decreases the production of testosterone in the body.
Cyproterone acetate can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. The advantages of using this medication include its ability to clear up acne by up to 75%.
The disadvantages of using this medication include its potential side effects, which can include:
- Breast tenderness
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in different parts of the body
- Changes in weight
Among the many options available for treating acne, Flutamide may be able to reduce breakouts and regulate hormones.
Flutamide is a type of hormonal therapy that works by blocking the testosterone pathway. This can help to reduce sebum production and decrease the inflammation associated with acne.
Results have shown that there is an 80% improvement in acne with flutamide treatment. However, flutamide can also cause side effects such as:
- Breast tenderness
- Stomach problems
- Hot flashes (sensation of warmth in the upper body)
- Low libido (Low sexual drive or desire)
Some other serious side effects of Flutamide include liver toxicity, which is more prevalent with an increase in the dose and the age of the patient.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
If you’re considering hormonal therapy for acne, you may be wondering how long it will take to see results. The answer to this lies in the following things,
- The type of hormonal therapy you’re using
- The severity of your acne
- How your immunity works to these hormones
In general, most people see a significant improvement in their skin within four to six weeks of starting therapy.
And with continued treatment, it’s not uncommon for acne to disappear completely. So, if you’re struggling with breakouts, hormonal therapy may be worth considering.
Benefits of Using Hormone Therapy
- It can be an effective treatment for acne when other treatments have failed.
- May improve overall skin quality by reducing inflammation and decreasing sebum production.
- Often have fewer side effects than other acne treatments, such as antibiotics.
- It is available in many different formulations, including topical creams, gels, and pills.
- Can be used in conjunction with other acne treatments, such as Benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
- May provide long-term remission of acne in some people.
- Is relatively affordable compared to other acne treatments
Disadvantages of Hormonal Therapy for Acne
Despite the potential benefits of hormonal therapy for acne, there are also some disadvantages to consider.
For instance, weight gain is a common side effect of many hormonal treatments. Additionally, fatigue, irregular periods, mood swings, headaches, and breast tenderness are also possible.
While most side effects are mild and temporary, some can be more serious, such as birth defects, low libido (Low sexual drive or desire), or shortness of breath.
Additionally, this type of therapy might cause certain types of cancer but it is not common.
When used correctly, hormonal therapy can be an effective way to clear your skin and get your life back on track. In most cases, the benefits of hormonal therapy for acne outweigh the risks.
For these reasons, it’s important to speak with a doctor before starting any hormonal therapy for acne.
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General Tips for those with acne
- Avoid picking or touching pimples.
- Wash your face twice daily.
- After sweating, gently wash your face.
- Use lukewarm water not hot water.
- Always use mild soap or cleansers.
- Avoid harsh or exfoliating scrubs.
- Use non-comedogenic cosmetics.
- Avoid environments that cause excessive sweating, if possible.
- Over-washing does not help acne.
Final Words about Hormonal Therapy for Acne
If you’re considering hormonal therapy for acne, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. On the plus side, hormonal therapy can be very effective in treating acne.
It can also help reduce the risk of developing more serious skin conditions. However, there are also some downsides to consider.
Hormonal therapy can cause side effects like weight gain, fatigue, and mood swings. It can also be expensive.
Ultimately, the decision whether or not to try hormonal therapy for acne should be made by you and your doctor after considering all of the risks and benefits.
We tried our best to give you complete details about what hormonal therapy is, its uses, how long it takes before we see results, and what are the benefits and disadvantages of this treatment. Now it’s up to you to decide if hormonal therapy is right for you.
Hope you’ve enjoyed our post. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
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